Friday, June 20, 2008

Gifted and talented policies: the NY Times finally catches up

The NY Times had a front page story yesterday describing how the Chancellor's changes to the Gifted and Talented admissions process have led to far less diverse group of students being served by the program, both economically and racially, a fact that was pointed out weeks ago on our blog as well as in a far more detailed manner, Eduwonkette’s.

Months before that, when the city first proposed to centralize the G and T admissions process and base its decision solely on uniform cut off scores on standardized exams, we pointed out that this would likely significantly diminish diversity and benefit wealthier students at the expense of poor and minority kids.

Here are excerpts from entries that Patrick Sullivan, Debbie Meier and I wrote about the likely effects of Klein's policies back in Oct. and Nov: here, here and here.

Apparently others warned the DOE as well, including Joseph Renzulli, who serves as a consultant to a city task force on the gifted.

Using standardized exams for high stakes decisions has a racially disparate impact, according to the National Academy of Sciences task force on the subject – and thus is racially discriminatory.

But Joel Klein’s notion of “equity,” as it is becoming more and more clear, is not to increase diversity and opportunity for all kids – but to base all decisions on abstract, numerical formulae that he and his minions devise without input from anyone else – like the DOE's controversial "fair student formula" that would cut half of all failing schools by an average of $400,000, and the absurd formula for school grades -- no matter what the results or the real impact on kids.

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